Devastation creates opportunities, many opportunities for change, or advancement in the aftermath.
Andrew Nikiforuk writes that this contagion, like those past, will usher in real change.
In 2016 the Commission on Creating a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future, a U.S. panel of health experts, warned that “the conditions for infectious disease emergence and contagion are more dangerous than ever” due to overpopulation, urbanization, industrial livestock crowds and mobility.
The panel estimated that there was a 20 per cent chance that four pandemics could unsettle the globe over the next century.
The late Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel Prize winning biologist, warned more than a decade ago that the world had entered a disquieting era of plague making.
“We have crowded together a hotbed of opportunity for infectious agents to spread over a significant part of the population. Affluent and mobile people are ready and willing and able to carry affliction all over the world within 24 hours’ notice. This condensation, stratification and mobility is unique, defining us as a very different species from what we were 100 years ago,” he wrote.The only surprise in the Covid-19 pandemic is that governments were so abysmally unprepared for it. We have been warned by the science types that this was an integral part of the Anthropocene. It was going to happen - a lot - they said. Governments seduced by the quest for perpetual exponential growth have no time for such warnings because they demand restraint on production, consumption and travel.
As COVID-19 provokes the usual spate of plague behaviours (fear, dread, generosity and compassion) it is worth remembering that pandemics remain critical and immutable social forces that shape our lives. They paralyze and disrupt. They reveal and renew.Nikiforuk lists 10 characteristics that the global elite have ignored to our peril. He writes that there's nothing random about pandemics.
...Homo sapiens have a long history of provoking plagues with overcrowding, dirty water, deforestation, poor nutrition, ruinous poverty, soil erosion and novel agricultural practices.
...vaccines and drugs rarely arrive on the scene until the pandemic has waned. In fact material changes in human behaviour, housing, nutrition and hygiene have always had the most impact on slowing or stopping plagues.
...The Silk Road brought rats and fleas to 13th-century Europe resulting in a demographic collapse in which one in four people died. The slave trade bombarded two continents with epidemics. Waves of cholera epidemics followed European trade routes from the Ganges Delta to the slums of major cities. Global steamship traffic dutifully carried influenza around the world and played a key role in spreading the deadly Spanish flu pandemic.
...President Woodrow Wilson was so focused on the First World War that he ignored repeated warnings about influenza and its impact on Atlantic troop movements to the Western Front. At the end of the war Canadian and U.S. authorities knowingly put sick troops on cramped ships with poor ventilation. As a result the flu killed 675,000 Americans while the trench warfare claimed but 53,000 U.S. soldiers.
President Donald Trump, who initially accused his political rivals of perpetrating a “hoax” when they warned his administration wasn’t doing enough about COVID-19, failed to prepare the United States with adequate testing and containment. Then, saying “I take no responsibility at all,” he falsely blamed the Obama administration for inadequate testing kits.Justin Trudeau and his fellow leaders didn't wish this upon us. They didn't plan this. They didn't plan for it either. They ignored the warnings that a pandemic was coming and there would be a succession of them in the decades to come. Theirs are sins of omission and we need an accounting for that.
...COVID-19, for example, could provoke challenges to the unsustainable complexity of technological life as well as the deadly biological traffic in all living organisms on a planet now crowded by eight billion people. We might, after the storm has passed, question the vulnerability of monocultures and the globalization of everything.
We don't know how lethal Covid-19 will turn out to be. We don't know how the virus will mutate before the second and possibly a third wave hit. In the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919, it was the mutated virus of the second wave that was, by far, the most devastating.
We live in an age of science. It is time our governments heeded the warnings of science and stopped their slavish pursuit of corporatism and the global economy.